Positive Aging SourceBook

Fostering the right solutions & connections

for more than 32 years

Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 05/26/2022

Ask the Care Managers

Ask the Care Managers

Aging life care managers are an essential part of the modern senior living industry. They serve as advocates for older adults, ensuring that their needs come first. They are also a crucial part of the growing positive aging movement. 

With the expert guidance of aging life care managers, positive aging is always possible—whether you want to age in place, find a luxurious community, recover after a surgery or illness, or help a loved one who is struggling with dementia or another illness. Recently, Sourcebook asked several local aging life care managers to share their insights. Here are a few of the questions from the audience—along with the answers from the care managers.

Q: Are case managers and care managers the same thing?

Susy Elder Murphy, Owner, Aging Well Eldercare: No. Case managers typically work with patients in hospitals. It is their job to get you out of the hospital, whether you are going to a rehabilitation facility or to your private residence. Insurance companies also sometimes assign case managers to individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes to help them manage their care. Case managers are available to assist with one specific problem. 

Aging Life Care Managers, on the other hand, look at the whole picture to help older adults and their families create a plan for aging well that addresses emotional, medical and financial needs.

Q: Are care management services expensive?

Kate Caldwell, Eldertree CEO and Gerontologist: It is a myth that aging life care managers only work with families with a lot of resources. I would say about 15-20 percent of the clients that I serve are lower income with modest resources. In those cases, we’re actually helping them navigate the system because it’s extremely complicated to get aid, waivers, and other benefits you may be entitled to. Care managers are hired by the hour, so you can get as little or as much help as you need and only what fits into your budget. 

Q:  I’m 78. My husband is 81. We’re still fully functional, but we realize that might change in the future. When should we start interacting with a care manager?

Denis Valerio, Care Manager, The Option Group: Care managers actually work with a lot of clients who are healthy and independent, but they want to plan for the future. If you have an established relationship with a care manager, if the need arises, you can call them, and they’ll be ready and able to act quickly to get you the help you need. It is always better to start the process of planning for aging before there is a crisis!

Q:  What is the role of a care manager after someone moves to a senior living community?

Susy: For some families, that really is the task—helping them find the right community for their loved one and then guiding them through the transition. In other situations, the family may be far away, or they don’t feel qualified to monitor and evaluate care. In those cases, we stay involved and can advocate for the needs of the older adult.

Kate: I would add that if a resident at a senior living community needs to go to the ER, the staff cannot go with them. Care managers are on call 24/7, so we can show up at the emergency room and make sure the patient is taken care of and has an advocate present at all times. 

Questions and answers were edited for clarity and brevity. 

View on demand recordings of our live and interactive discussions below:


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Meet the Aging Life Care Managers - Margi Helsel-Arnold, Jen Rynbrandt, Erin Kershaw

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Meet the Aging Life Care Managers - Allyson Stanton, Megan Descutner, Sharon Dickol

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Meet the Aging Life Care Managers - Robin Mansfield - Mary Ann Buckley - Karen McPhail

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Meet the Aging Life Care Managers - Heather Suri, Christine Bitzer, and Ellen Platt

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